Play It Safe - Behind The Scenes: Blocks 11 and 12

Hey guys, time to take another walk down memory lane (well overdue as usual I'm afraid). We finished up principle photography back in March 2013, which feels like an eternity ago now. The last two days were incredibly challenging, but they were also incredibly memorable. Here's some BTS pics and some reminiscences.

BLOCK 11

Our second last day of shooting was at The Toff in Melbourne. The Toff has been one of my favourite live music venues for years and it was hugely exciting to be able to film there. I have to give a massive shout out to Redouane Chaouki for making it all possible!

It's always great to be able to film in one of your favourite locations, but I felt like this was extra important to a film like Play It Safe. The Toff is such a well known and loved institution in the Melbourne music scene and I think it really helps to bring not only realism to the film, but also to really inject a bit of Melbourne's personality into it. After the test screening, a bunch of local viewers mentioned that they really felt like Play It Safe was a Melbourne film (which made me super happy), and I think being able to use locations like The Toff helped immensely.

On the flip side, this whole day was a logistical nightmare. As The Toff is a functioning (and hugely popular) venue we only had a very limited time to shoot in there so we didn't disrupt their business. I think we only had something like six hours to get three scenes. As everyone in the cast and crew know, I'm the kind of director who really likes to explore scenes and do a lot of takes, so this day was a big challenge in terms of trying to be very economical with time while still finding ways to play with scenes and get what we needed.

I also got somewhat harassed by an irate police officer before we even managed to start shooting, but hey that wasn't the first time we had an angry person throwing a spanner into the works during a shoot, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Here's some pics:

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BLOCK 12

Many filmmakers get quite sick at the end of a big project. It's as if their body has been holding on desperately just trying to finish things off, and then as soon as it's all done they collapse in a heap and don't get out of bed for two weeks. Unfortunately, my body didn't quite make it to the end. I came down with a terrible flu and spent our last day of shooting out of my mind on medication.

We managed to make it through the day, but I'm not sure how much I had to do with it! (I remember cringing in shame as Raechel and I reviewed the footage and heard the delirious nonsense coming out of my mouth. Not my finest hour!) Luckily my amazing team rose to the occasion and I couldn't be happier with how the scenes turned out.

It was a pleasure working with Nick's mum Christina (who also plays his mum in the film) as well as the always amazing Clayton Jacobson. Clay is an incredible director (if you haven't seen his 2006 film "Kenny" then go get it now), and he has also acted in a whole bunch of great films including Animal Kingdom. All of the cast and crew did an amazing job, and the scenes we shot with Jamie and his parents have tested incredibly well. A lot of viewers have said that these scenes really stood out to them as favourites and that they could really relate to the relationship Jamie has with his parents, which I'm really happy about.

Possibly one thing that made the day a bit easier was that we filmed in a location I knew extremely well: my parents' house, which I lived in for some twenty or so years. A lot of people have asked me if Play It Safe is autobiographical, and I guess they will just have to make what they will of this little detail! (To be totally honest, the choice of location was all about logistics, but hey if people want to embrace a bit of mystery then why not).

Here's some pics:

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Alrighty, that's enough nostalgia for now. As you can see we made sure to celebrate our last day of shooting in style, and we're currently working hard to reach our next big celebration, which will be our cast and crew screening sometime late this year or early next year. More news coming soon!

Chris Pahlow

Chris Pahlow is an independent writer/director currently in post-production on his debut feature film PLAY IT SAFE. Chris has been fascinated with storytelling since he first earned his pen license and he’s spent the last ten years bringing stories to life through music videos, documentaries, and short films.